Having Kids Close in Age | Pros and Cons
There are so many things to consider when deciding how close in age you want your children to be. This decision is often a reflection on how parents were raised and how they felt about the age gap between them and their siblings.
Some parents grew up with a sibling three years older or younger than them and hated it while others loved having that age gap. Other parents grew up wishing they had a smaller or larger age gap between themselves and their sibling(s).
There truly isn’t a best age-gap for every family but there is a best age-gap for each individual family. Funny thing about that, though.. you’ll never really know how that age gap will work until after you have the kids.
In an effort to help ya make that decision, I compiled a list of the advantages and disadvantages about having kiddos a little less than two years apart.
I’m only four years into this mom gig and hardly consider myself a parenting expert. My husband and I made the decision to have our children close in age long before we were even married and we believe we made the best decision for our family.
Today I am going to share our experience parenting young children close in age and our thought process behind that decision.
For reference: Carson (baby #1) and Henry (baby #2) are 22 months apart. Henry and James (baby #3) are 20 months apart.
We wanted our children to experience life stages together. Before having children we assumed that they would play well together while they were young and they would appreciate having a companion while navigating puberty, dating, college, marriage, and babies. This is the main reason we wanted our kids close in age.
Garrett and I also planned on having more than two children. If I had three, four, or five kids three+ years apart I could end up being pregnant off and on for 12 (or more) years. As much as I enjoy pregnancy and the baby years, I look forward to days without diapers and nursing bras. We eventually want more freedom to travel with our children and having a longer gap between children would make that more difficult.
We’re already in “baby stage” and we will never truly leave that stage until our last baby grows out of it. Transitioning to a new baby has been so easy and I think this is because we are already in the throes of diapers, exhaustion, and breastfeeding. Toddlers are exhausting all day, everyday even on the best day. Adding a newborn to that equation has been so much easier than getting used to sleep and no diapers and then having to start all over again.
My husband and I will become empty-nesters sooner than later. That means we will still have many, many years to just enjoy each other without having younger children to care for. Of course, the journey of parenting never truly ends but once our kids are older it will be so much easier to focus solely on the things we want to do as a couple. The more kids we have, the longer we have to wait to enjoy this stage in our life so it makes sense for us to have them closer in age.
You become really good a juggling children. Seriously, I could join a circus. Or start my own.
Someone always needs you. So far, 20 months is the closest age gap between our kids and an almost two-year old still needs mama cuddles almost as much as a newborn. It takes a lot of time and I have to always be “on” in order to cater to everyone’s needs. My boys love to be held but snuggling all three of them can be hard. My lap is only so big, ya know?
Diapers and.. stuff. Having two kids in diapers is obviously more expensive than one.
Comments from the peanut gallery.. I mean.. well meaning friends, family-members, and strangers about the spacing of my kids is just plain annoying. Yes, I know how this happens. Obviously we’re good at it. When your children are close together in age, many people assume it wasn’t on purpose and you get to hear about it.. all the time.
My house look likes I run a daycare. Between toys, strollers, carseats, bouncers, clothes, diapers, sippy cups, and constant sticky surfaces- my house is never pre-kid clean or organized. Its more of a “this will do” kinda clean. And, the clutter? I will never be able to Marie Kondo my way out this mess.
They grow up faster. If we had our second child when our oldest was 3 or 4 he would have seemed smaller and younger for a longer period of time. Once you bring a new baby into your home, your older kids immediately look and act like teenagers in comparison to your teeny tiny newborn. This is honestly the hardest part for me to cope with. My babies are going to leave my home as quickly as they entered it and that makes my mama heart ache.
Although Garrett and I always planned on our children being 18-24 months apart, I would love to have them closer. I think it would be so, so fun to have Irish twins running around but I 100% don’t think I could handle being pregnant any closer than I was. I had very easy pregnancies and deliveries but if my experiences were not as positive, I would have had a larger age gap between kiddos. Also, if I was working outside of my home, I would consider having my children 3 or 4 years apart.
Our child-spacing works well for our family’s lifestyle but I don’t think its the right fit for everyone. Families are not one-size-fits all. I honestly think that this is the type of situation when listening to your gut is best. You’ll just know, ya know? 😉
What are your kids’ age gaps? I would love to know what your thought process was when deciding how to space your babies.. let me know in a comment below!